2006-03-31 07:30:11.000 – Jim Salge,  Observer

Sunrise through the haze…

As the first warm high pressure area of the year crests over the peak today, the signs of its impacts are quite evident. Temperatures last night only fell to 27 degrees last night, and should rise into the 40s today on the summits. This will put temperatures about 15 to 20 degrees above average for the day! Already, the snowpack is snowing signs of dwindling, as we are down to 11 inches on the summit, a lot of it glare ice. And the South Face of Mount Madison is almost completely free of snow!

Another impact of a cresting warm high pressure area is a serious impact on our visibility from the summit. As winds turn southerly, haze is transported from the industrial sectors of the US, this morning already limiting visibility to 40 miles from the peak (whereas yesterday morning they were 90 miles) An inversion has trapped the haze into a brown ring around the horizon, a sight quite common in summer. It’s views like these that lead to the Northeast’s least admirable nickname…The Exhaust Pipe of America.

Haze can create some neat effects up here though. Sunrises and sunsets can be fairly vibrant, and the sun often turns a bright red color until it emerges above the haze layer. The picture above shows the colors with considerable detail, as dawn breaks over the Carter Mountains. A great show, and a great way to end this month on Mount Washington.


Jim Salge,  Observer

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